Hyundai’s i30 N: Manual only, 2.0-litre turbo, 275hp, 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds
NAMYAEG, KOREA – Hyundai has announced the official production version of its i30 N hot hatch, and it looks very much like the real deal
It’s based on the current, third-gen i30 hatchback (not yet launched in Singapore), with the ‘N’ letter standing for Korea’s R&D HQ of Namyang, and the Nurburgring. N itself is also a new performance department headed by ex-BMW M man Albert Biermann.
The i30 N underwent more than 10,000km of development on the Nurb, and took part twice in the 24 Hours Of The Nurburgring – in fact we saw the development mule in the flesh leading a car parade (see CarBuyer 259 for our story).
The car has a whole slew of performance improving features, which includes an electronically-controlled front LSD, adaptive suspension, launch control and a choice of high-performance tyres on 18 or 19-inch wheels. |
A 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection engine delivers 275hp and 353Nm of torque – the only transmission option is a six-speed manual with auto-rev matching (like the Honda Civic Type R). In the UK, the car is being offered in two trims, with a base 247hp model and a 275hp Performance Package model. 0-100km/h is done in 6.1 seconds (6.4 for the base) and top speed is approximately 260km/h.
Six-speed manual is the sole transmission option
The car’s suspension is an adaptive, electronically-controlled setup, and electronic stability control (ESC) can be completely switched off. There are five drive modes, all selectable via a steering wheel button, including Eco, Normal, Sport, N, and N Custom. The modes affect the behaviour of the ESC, LSD, exhaust valve, steering dynamics and rev-matching (if activated).
While the i30 N’s total power seems a little less than the top crop of hot hatches (although it’s nothing to sniff at), Hyundai has taken a different approach with the car and says it’s focused on delivering a fun machine that’s not overwhelming to drive, it being described as a ‘corner rascal’.
The N was made with input from Hyundai Motorsports and its WRC drivers
“The Hyundai i30 N has been developed for no other purpose than to deliver maximum driving fun to our customers in an accessible high-performance package,” says Albert Biermann, Executive Vice President Performance Development and High Performance Vehicle Division. “With the high-performance N models we will enhance our brand’s appeal with emotional products that cater to the needs of people who love to have a smile on their face when they drive their car on a winding road and listen to the sound of the engine. That’s why we measure high-performance in BPM, heart beats per minute instead of only RPM.”
Hyundai says the car excels at daily driving but is also optimised for track use too, with a strengthened clutch, increased brake cooling, extra bracing behind the rear seats, and of course Nurburgring torture testing.
No pricing or availability has been mooted for Singapore yet, although official dealer Komoco Motors says it’s very interested in exploring the possibility. Right-hand drive sales will soon begin in the UK, with prices suggested at being lower than GBP30,000 – a VW Golf GTI costs around GBP27,000, while a VW Golf R costs GB32,000, suggesting that the i30 N could cost around $160,000 with COE or more.
While we never got to try the tasty-looking Genesis coupe from before, that car was never made in right-hand drive, unlike the i30 N and the Kia Stinger (which is very likely to be sold in Singapore). Fingers crossed for this one.
A hot hatch from Hyundai – should we be surprised at all? Not really. In the past decade, we’ve seen Hyundai seriously branch out into ‘serious’ carmaker territory: luxury and sports cars (Genesis), a fun hatch (Veloster), a hybrid (Ioniq) and with more technology in its cars like the turbo Tucson, plus a huge maturity in design as seen in its humbler cars like the Elantra.
Will the i30 N be all it’s supposed to? Given what Hyundai’s been up to, we’d be very surprised if it doesn’t.